Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
1 rating

Tuesday - May 12, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Rooting desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) from a cutting
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I found a desert willow with great bloom color and I am trying to root a cutting. I have never tried to root a cutting but I have read that desert willow is easy to root. My first attempt was in a vase with rooting hormone and the leaves died and I could not see any roots. I did see some very fine hair-like structures that looked more like a form of decay. My second attempt has been in plain water but I have gotten the same result. The first cuttings were before buds appeared and the second had buds on them. Am I attempting this at the wrong time of year? I have set the vase/containers in an area of the house that gets a lot of light but it is not direct sunlight. Any advice is appreciated.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is going to refer you to the native plant propagation expert, Jill Nokes.  In her book How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (available for sale in the Wildflower Center store and in most libraries and bookstores) this is what she says about rooting cuttings of Chilopsis linearis (desert willow):

"Desert Willow is easily rooted from semihardwood cuttings of the current season's growth taken in late May and June.  The cuttings should be treated with 5,000 IBA in alcohol solution and kept under intermittent mist... . As the cuttings begin to callus and form roots, reduce the frequency of misting to encourage the cuttings to harden off and avoid stem rot.  Cuttings usually root in 2-3 weeks.

Root development is best in a light soil mix rather than straight perlite alone.  Roots tend to be brittle and a soil blend encourages branching." (p.201)

To make a 1.0% solution of IBA (which is 10,000 ppm), dissolve 5 grams of the IBA in 1 pint (16 oz.) of 70% isopropyl alcohol.  To make the 5,000 ppm solution you mix one part of the 1.0% solution with an equal amount of isopropyl solution, according to Nokes. (p.52)

You could also just buy a pre-made rooting gel or powder (e.g.,  Clonex, Rootone, etc.) at a garden center.

Storing the cuttings in your house where there is lots of light, but not direct sunlight is good.  The best temperature range for rooting the cuttings is 70-80°.


 

More Propagation Questions

Transplanting Sideroxylon lanuginosum in Austin
August 12, 2009 - I have a tall (30-40 ft) Sideroxylon lanuginosum in my backyard. Last fall hundreds of saplings popped up in my yard following runners from the tall tree. I would like to keep a few of these sapling...
view the full question and answer

Stump sprouting of Oak trees in the wildfire area in Bastrop, TX.
May 13, 2012 - We live in Bastrop, Texas, in the wildfire area. We lost all of our trees. The oak trees have "suckers" growing from the base of the burned tree that has been cut down. They look like little bushe...
view the full question and answer

Pollinator to Arkansas yucca from Arlington TX
May 15, 2012 - Thank you Barbara for your answer. However, my Arkansas yuccas bloom every year, but do not set seed. I am asking for the name of the moth that pollinates them, or other native plants that serve as ...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a young lilac
November 05, 2012 - This past spring I planted a hybrid lilac in the ground. The weather here has started to get cold, and much more so at night. Also, the temperatures go from warm to cold and back again as if unsure wh...
view the full question and answer

Mistake in propagation of Mustang grapes from Victoria TX
July 27, 2013 - I didn't read first! I planted dried mustang grape seeds in good potting soil, watered and put on tall clear plastic bags to retain moisture, will they ever come up? Should I get the seed out and r...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.